Home Security When Moving Home
It’s often cited as one of the most stressful things that we do in life, so it’s no surprise that mistakes are often made when we move house, and security might not be as tight as it could be.
Whether it’s leaving the front door open while moving belongings from the van to your new home, not having a sufficient alarm system for the property, or failing to properly scout out the area that you’re moving to, there are a number of errors that can be made before, during and after your move that can compromise your home’s security.
So what should you look out for? How can you make your transition from property to property as safe as possible? Here are a few tips to get you started…
Before You Move
Research has shown that only around one third of homebuyers, including first timers, consider the overall safety of a neighbourhood as the most important factor to consider when moving there. However, statistics from the British Crime Survey show that those who have lived in a home for less than a year are almost twice as likely to suffer a break-in than those that have been there for longer than this period, which would suggest that more of an effort should be made to learn about the nature of the surrounding area before choosing to move there.
With this in mind, research into the neighbourhood should be an important part of the house search process, and police and crime statistics websites exist with information regarding burglary rates and other related issues in any given postcode.
Making a visit to the area yourself – particularly after dark – should give you a feel for how safe it is, with clues such as how well-maintained the area is, street lamp coverage, visible anti-social behaviour and how well served it is by public transport all beneficial to building a bigger picture. If possible, speak with any local residents you encounter to get their opinion as to overall crime levels in the area.
Once you’ve settled on a home to buy, there are still steps you can take before you move to ensure that it’s secure. Start by changing the locks – if you didn’t personally know the previous owner, then you might be at risk of them returning uninvited. Similarly, the existing locks may be insufficient to withstand the threat of a break-in, so updating these will be of huge benefit.
If there is a security alarm already fitted at the property, make sure you are aware of the arming and disarming code, and have access to the operation manual.
During the Move
The sight of removals vehicles is like a red rag to a bull to an opportunistic thief, as it indicates a house move in progress. In order to deter them, make sure that your front door is closed every time furniture and other possessions are transferred inside, and have someone guarding the moving vans throughout to prevent any quick grabs from here. Don’t be tempted to leave items in the front garden or on the doorstep when unloading.
Making your home look occupied as quickly as possible is also important to making it unattractive to thieves. Conceal your rooms from the outside with curtains or blinds, and don’t leave removals boxes lying around. Ensure that any “for sale” signs are taken down, and try to get to know your neighbours early on.
Although opening windows to air out a property that hasn’t been occupied for some time is important, it’s vital that you close any easily accessible ones when you are in a different room.
After the Move
Once you’re settled in and have been in residence for a few days, it’s time to consider the fundamental steps you can take to protect your home. These are often very simple procedures, and are geared around deterring opportunistic burglars.
First of all, apply a little common sense. Keeping up the appearance that your home is occupied will put off most thieves, so an investment in timer switches on lamps can make a world of difference. Where practical, leaving a radio on will have a similar effect, and there are now products available that imitate a TV in use without you having to have your set on all day.
It may sound obvious, but if there isn’t one installed already, make sure you have a security alarm fitted. There are a number of high quality security companies out there that will be able to tailor a system to your needs, but make sure you select one with relevant credentials. Some important ones to look out for include the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB).
Finally, check your doors, windows and any other potential access points. These should be updated if they are not sufficiently secure against the threat of force, with those certified by the latest security standard (PAS 24:2012) offering the duel benefits of safety and energy insulation.
Following these simple tips will help you to keep your home safe at every stage of a house move, and any reputable security systems company will be able to provide you with advice and assistance if required.